Yamaha Motor Canada Presents The Monday Gate Drop

Good day and welcome to another edition of the Yamaha Motor Canada Monday Gate Drop. I hope everyone is staying safe, healthy, and still remaining sane through all of this. Also, I trust that all of the moto moms had a great Mother’s Day yesterday.

Happy Mother’s Day!

So where are we in all of this mess? Well, even though things are beginning to open slowly, we’re still not at the point yet where tracks are allowed to open for practice in most parts of the country. However, with golf courses and parks already open, our tracks cannot be far behind. And quite honestly, at this point why shouldn’t they be allowed to open? As long as the proper precautions are taken, other than the inherent danger of riding a motorcycle, why can I take my son to, say, Costco but not to Moto Park or Gopher Dunes to ride? I realize that Costco is a place that sells essential items, but from a Covid-19 health perspective, I would think that we’re far safer at a motocross track. I think we’re at the point now where it’s time to allow tracks to open for at least practice, especially when we’re seeing more tracks open down south. As we’re witnessing on the news now, people are getting very frustrated with not being allowed to work and do certain things. To think about how bad our industry and small businesses everywhere are suffering right now is truly scary. I suppose that all we can do is keep waiting and preying that everything will return to normal sooner than later.

These two warriors are waiting to resume their battle for the 2020 Supercross Championship. Photo by James Lissimore

As far as racing goes, not much has changed on either side of the border in the past week. In the States, the Monster Energy Supercross Series is still looking at May 31st as a return date to finish their final seven races. There was talk of Glendale, AZ being the location of all of the final rounds, but there has since been mention of other locations. I would think that we’ll be hearing more news this week as the end of May isn’t that far off. As far as the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championships, July 6th is the date for that series to begin, whether it’s at Red Bud or perhaps another location. There was some talk last week that Mt. Morris might be hosting the opening round in early July. The situation with both of these series is obviously very fluid and could change at any time. My guess is that both Feld Motorsports and MX Sports have a pretty good idea by now about what is going to happen, but we’ll have to wait a little longer to find out. Also, in case you missed it on the weekend, the UFC broke the ice and became the first sport to hold an event since the mid-March shutdown of all sporting events. Will this now get the ball rolling with other professional sports? Maybe it will.

Three national motos in one weekend is going to be tough on every rider. Let’s hope all goes to plan and the Triple Crown Series will begin in early July. Photo by James Lissimore

Here in Canada, we’re still on hold as far as not just racing but also for most of the tracks to open for practice. As it was announced ten days ago, the 2020 Rockstar Energy Triple Crown Series is set to begin July 13th at Gopher Dunes. If all goes as planned the racing will begin on the Saturday with the first of three motos, and the final two motos in each class will be on Sunday. From a media point of view, I actually really like this format as it will give us so much to discuss and report. Also, if you’re a top rider then I would think you’ll like this format as the extra moto will only help the cream rise to the top when the weekend is over. However, for the average privateer-type rider I believe this format will have mixed results. On one hand, a privateer could absolutely let it all hang out during Saturday’s moto, knowing they have 24 hours to rest before their next race. However, three motos will be tough on the bikes so if you don’t have a lot of parts then things could be challenging by the third moto on Sunday afternoon. This is obviously all conjecture at this point so we’ll have to wait to see how it all plays out. Last week I did an interview with Jess Pettis and he summed it up perfectly when he said that at this point, we’re lucky to even have a series in 2020. Here is the link to the full interview: https://www.mxpmag.com/ktm-canada-presents-mxp-chatter-with-jess-pettis-3/

The starting line was pack with talent a year ago at Moto Park.

I’m not sure what these past few weeks have been like for you, but for me I’ve had a habit of mentally and verbally saying things like, “Well, if it wasn’t for this virus we’d be going to this event or that event right now.” I suppose it started last month when we weren’t able to go on what has recently become our annual Mexican vacation. With that in mind, this coming weekend will be the first in seven years that we won’t be headed to Moto Park for the opening two rounds of the ever-popular New Era MP Cup events. Being an Ontario born and bred rider, and with Moto Park being just 55 minutes up the road from me, I’ve obviously spent a lot of time at this famous track over the years. I’ve not only raced there since I was eight-years-old but I’ve also watched the Grand Prix races that took place there in the 1980s, and I’ve also have had the pleasure of watching some of my favourite riders race there. Riders like Doug Hoover, Jeff Surwall, and Kevin Moore are a few that stand out as riders I really looked up to when I was young. In 2013, Moto Park became even more meaningful to me as that was the year that I took my son to race there for the first time. Back then it was the opening weekend of the second year of the new MP Cup events, and as I made the left turn into the track that morning I thought back to days when my Dad used to take me there. I believe that is called the Circle of Life and I’m quite sure all of you have experienced moments like this.

This photo represents what the MP Cup events are all about. This race is going to missed this coming weekend at Moto Park.

Since that May long weekend in 2013 we have raced in every MP Cup race, and it’s going to be missed this Saturday and Sunday. These races have become the largest non-national motocross events in Ontario over the past few years with riders and families showing up from not only other provinces but the USA as well. Last year the opening round was even more exciting as a few of our top national riders used this race as a warm-up for the MXTour Series. For the first time in years riders like Colton Facciotti, Cole Thompson, Tanner Ward, Marco Cannella and Sam Gaynor were all lined up together at a regional event. I’m sure you can imagine how cool the vibe was that day and I’m quite sure there were a few jaws hitting the ground when people saw just how fast our top riders were going on the MP track. I know I was impressed, and I’m lucky to see these guys race all summer long. That day, Facciotti and Thompson traded moto wins with Ward, Cannella and Gaynor rounding out the Top 5. It was a great day of racing, and if you look a little deeper into things, it was a throwback to how regional racing used to be in Ontario. Back in the mid-1990s and into the early 2000s, some of our top pro riders would frequent the local races in Ontario. In fact, I’m sure it was like that in most parts of Canada. I believe that having our fastest riders show up at a local race not only adds credibility to that event, it also gives our young riders a chance to watch our top riders up close, which makes them better riders moving forward. I wish moments like what happened a year ago would happen more often, because it’s just so good for our sport on so many different levels. I know one thing, if the Triple Crown Series begins at Gopher Dunes in early July and if the second half of the 2020 MP Cup is run in late June, then you can bet the starting line will be full of eager pros looking to get in a few gate drops. Let’s hope anyway. Until then, I know for this coming weekend my family and I will be missing the hospitality of Moto Park.

Well, that is it for me this week. As always, thank-you for reading and I hope everyone has a great week. Stay tuned this week for even more racing news as I’m sure there will be a lot to come out in the next five days. Be safe, stay healthy, and once again Happy Mother’s Day!

If things don’t get better soon than we’re all going to need a massage. Photo by James Lissimore